Who Wants to Be Justin Fields' Offensive Coordinator?

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Who Wants to Be Justin Fields’ Offensive Coordinator?

Chicago Bears

It’s been a busy week for the Chicago Bears.

Hiring Ryan Poles to be the team’s general manager is a start. And his hiring of head coach Matt Eberflus could make for a nice building block. At minimum, the Bears have a new power structure in place. So, once we get past how Ryan (Poles) and Matt (Eberflus) are replacing, well, Ryan (Pace) and Matt (Nagy), we can address the elephant in the room.

How are they going to get the most out of quarterback Justin Fields?

It is the most important thing on the table for Poles, Eberflus, and the entire Bears organization. The collaboration efforts at Halas Hall must unearth the right offensive coordinator and staff in order to get this thing right. Full stop. No excuses. That’s especially true with a defensive-leaning head coach like Eberflus, too. If he needs any inspiration, he can look toward Sean McDermott (Bills) and Brandon Staley (Chargers) for motivation. Those two defensively-charged head coaches are armed with quarterbacks and dynamic offenses.

In other words, it isn’t an impossible task. Even if it was, Jay-Z taught us that “difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week.”

But, you, know … yeah. It might be challenging. With that in mind, let’s start exploring some options.

Joe Brady

There is often a belief that head coaches will lean on assistants with which they have previous experience coaching in their past. And while there is truth in that, there is a reality that plenty of coaches will use their representation to help with potential hiring blind spots. Considering how Eberflus’ blind spot is on the offensive side of the ball, it makes it easy to connect him with someone he might know through someone else. Perhaps Joe Brady fits the bill here.

A year ago at this time, Brady was getting head coach interviews. But now, the unemployed former Panthers offensive coordinator is out of work in the NFL. Brady reportedly wants to stick around the league. And while the head-coach interviews aren’t coming his way, Brady could rebuild his coaching stock as an offensive coordinator. His offensive concepts made stars out of Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire during that magical championship year at LSU. Doing something similar with Justin Fields (and other offensive pieces to be brought on board later) could do wonders for his rep.

Kevin Patullo

One of the first name-checks to come across the wire was Eagles Passing Game Coordinator Kevin Patullo. No, Patullo isn’t a household name. But put that aside and take note of his résumé. The 40-year-old has pro experience with the Chiefs (2007-08), Bills (2010-12), Titans (2014), Jets (2015-16), Colts (2018-20), and Eagles (2021-present). Also worth underscoring are the different titles Patullo has had over the years. Offensive assistant, quality control coach, quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach, pass game specialist, senior offensive analyst. It’s not that he just has a history with quarterbacks, it’s that he has experience in other aspects of building an offense.

I’ll be looking forward to diving deeper into Patullo’s profile when given time. But one thing I have an interest in unearthing is how the Eagles offense evolved in the second half of the year. Things weren’t working all that well early, and it put first-year head coach Nick Sirianni in some hot water with the always patient and definitely not overzealous Eagles fans. After a 2-5 start with just two games with at lest 30 points, Philly finished 7-3 after that point. They had two 40+ point games and three games with 30+ points down the stretch. In-season adjustments are difficult. And stubborn coaches don’t make them. But if real tweaks were at the heart of the Eagles’ offensive explosion, it will pique my interest in Patullo.

Odds and Ends…

•   This would be a fascinating idea:

•   Shanahan’s offensive concepts have been intriguing me since Mike Shanahan was scripting offenses. The balance, willingness to take deep shots, propensity to move the pocket for the QB, and the ability to get the run game going with different styles of backs and ball carriers are among the things that have long spoken to me as a football fan. Shanahan’s offenses get the job done. Whether it is Mike McDaniel (Niners OC) or someone else who isn’t on our radar right now, I wouldn’t mind if that is where the Bears went with their own search for a coordinator.

•   Patrick Finley (Sun-Times) rattles off a bunch of notable names. Patullo is on the list. But so are Mike Kafka (Chiefs QBs Coach/Pass Game Coordinator), Pep Hamilton (Texans QB Coach/Pass Game Coordinator), and Jim Caldwell (Bears head coach finalist). Bill Lazor and John DeFilippo get name-checked. But as Finley writes: “If the Bears wanted the status quo, they wouldn’t be where they are now.”

•   Chris Emma (670 The Score) writes about all eyes being on Eberflus and the OC hire. He adds offensive coordinators who aren’t play callers (such as the Rams’ Kevin O’Connell, Eagles’ Shane Steichen) as candidates who could be in play. Emma also offers up college coordinators Tommy Rees (Notre Dame) and Graham Harrell (West Virginia). Now, that is thinking outside-of-the-box.

•   Sean Hammond (Shaw Media) has candidates by the baker’s dozen. That’s 13 of ’em, for those of you who aren’t as in tune with kitchen slang as yours truly. In addition to some of the names above, Hammond adds David Culley (former Texans HC), Ken Dorsey (Bills QBs Coach/Pass Game Coordinator), Jason Garrett (former Cowboys coach/Giants OC), Mike Groh (Colts WRs Coach), Klint Kubiak (former (?) Vikings OC), Scottie Montgomery (Colts RBs Coach), and Duce Staley (Lions AHC/RBs Coach/former Bears assistant coach candidate).

•   Dorsey might be the most intriguing of that group, but also one of the longest long-shots. Although, if Brian Daboll doesn’t end up with a head coach job of his own, it could open the door for Dorsey’s departure. The opportunity to create your own path by molding a young Bears QB could do wonders for his résumé should he have a desire to rise through the coaching ranks.

•   Something to keep in mind:


•   Don’t get me wrong. I understand the angst surrounding hiring a defensive-leaning head coach who nails the offensive coordinator hire. There is real risk in opening a revolving door of offensive coordinators. But they don’t always leave. Tom Moore was with Peyton Manning forever. Despite some time away from Patriots camp, Josh McDaniels was riding shotgun with Tom Brady for a hot minute. Brian Daboll has been with Josh Allen through every step of his development. And if the Bears have to hire a rotating cast of play-callers, maybe it will be because Fields turns into a rock star. We’ve got a while before we get to that bridge, let alone cross it. I’ll guess the names above aren’t the only ones we’ll see on a Bears list moving forward.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.